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August 05, 2008

Ryun denied return bid to Congress

Kansas state treasurer Lynn Jenkins is close to scoring an upset victory over former GOP congressman Jim Ryun in Tuesday’s Republican primary. The winner will face Rep. Nancy Boyda (D-Kansas) in a seat that Republicans will be heavily targeting this fall.

With 96 percent of precincts reporting, Jenkins is leading Ryun 51 to 49 percent – by a 831-vote margin.

Ryun was viewed as the GOP favorite, having begun campaigning since early last year and spending over $1.5 million in the primary. Jenkins, by contrast, had only spent $268,000 as of mid-July, conserving her money until the campaign’s final weeks.

But Jenkins went on the attack in the final weeks of the campaign, tagging Ryun as a consummate Washington insider. Jenkins, who is considered more moderate than Ryun, also hit the former congressman from his right over immigration.

UPDATE: It's official: Boyda will be facing Jenkins in the November general election. Ryun conceded to Jenkins late last night and both candidates will be holding a joint news conference at the Kansas statehouse today.

"At the outset, no one gave us a prayer running against a fellow with 99.9 percent name ID and who outraises you three to one," Jenkins told the AP. "This just shows that good grass-roots campaigns can still be successful."